Senior Andola Dortch was named a finalist for the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Monday. Named after Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman, the award recognizes the top point guard in women's NCAA Division I college basketball. The original watch list of candidates was narrowed down to the below list of 22 by a nationally based committee.
"We are honored to be recognizing these 22 athletes for their strengths, skills and commitment to the game of basketball and are excited to move forward in the selection process," Lieberman said. "All of these young women deserve to be on the list for this well-respected award and deserve recognition for their determination."
Dortch, the only representative from the Mid-American Conference, is the catalyst in the Rockets' offense, averaging 12.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, a team-high 5.5 assists, squad-best 0.4 blocks and team-high 2.5 steals in 34.5 minutes per game in 2013-14. The 2012-13 first-team All-MAC selection currently ranks second in the league in helpers and minutes played, third in thefts and assist/turnover ratio (2.1, 137-65) and 16th in scoring.
The 2013-14 Preseason All-MAC West Division Team selection has scored in double figures on 17 occasions this year, tied for second-highest total on the team, including a season-high 22 points vs. nationally ranked Purdue on Sunday, Nov. 17.
Besides being an outstanding scorer, Dortch is UT's defensive specialist. The two-time reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year has collected at least four steals on a team-high seven occasions in 2013-14, including a season-high six vs. Valparaiso in the second game of the Toledo Invite on Saturday, Dec. 7.
A premier Selection Committee made up of top college basketball personnel including Hall of Famers, media members, head coaches and sports information directors was appointed by the Hall of Fame to review the candidates. The list will be narrowed down to a final five by March and the winner will be announced during Final Four weekend activities.
Previous winners of the Nancy Lieberman Award include last year's recipient Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Sue Bird (Connecticut), Renee Montgomery (Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Connecticut), Lindsey Harding (Duke), Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga), Temeka Johnson (LSU), Kristi Toliver (Maryland), Ivory Latta (North Carolina) and Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State).
2014 Nancy Lieberman Award Candidates
Odyssey Sims, Baylor University
Jerica Coley, Florida International University
Yashira Delgado, Florida State University
Damika Martinez, Iona College
Ashley Deary, Northwestern University
Tiffany Bias, Oklahoma State University
Fantasia Hilliard, Sacramento State University
Amber Orrange, Stanford University
Natasha Cloud, St. Joseph's University
Joanna Harden, Troy University
Brittany Boyd, University of California, Berkeley
Bria Hartley, University of Connecticut
Moria Jefferson, University of Connecticut
Samanta Logic, University of Iowa
Valencia McFarlan, University of Mississippi
Lindsay Allen, University of Notre Dame
Jamierra Faulkner, University of Southern Mississippi
Heather Butler, University of Tennessee at Martin
Jennifer Newsome, University of Tennessee at Martin
ANDOLA DORTCH, UNIVERISTY OF TOLEDO
Jennifer Schlott, Utah State University
Dequesha McClanahan, Winthrop University